The United Nations Security Council must be revamped in order to reflect present day realities, leaders of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan said Saturday. The appeal was made in a joint statement following a summit of the four countries known as the G-4 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. The leaders are in the U.S. for the 70th UN General Assembly meetings. "The G-4 leaders stressed that a more representative, legitimate and effective Security Council is needed more than ever to address the global conflicts and crises, which had spiraled in recent years," read the statement. The leaders "shared the view that this can be achieved by reflecting the realities of the 21st century, where more member states have the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to maintenance of international peace and security", it added. The structure of the 15-member Council is facing criticism for the overriding influence of permanent members whose national interests regularly trump action in humanitarian crises, most recently in Syria and Ukraine.
It is high time the United Nations Security Council is reformed to reflect the real distribution of power across the world in the 21st century, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday. "We need a new method of work to solve problems," Merkel said. "That makes reform of the Security Council necessary, reform which reflects the real power in the world better than the situation today." The appeal was in a summary of Merkel's opening remarks at a meeting with her counterparts from Brazil, India and Japan provided to reporters by the German delegation. "We have to proceed very wisely," she added, according to the summary. "We have to find allies to reach our goal of reform."
Many have described the privileges held by the five permanent members, the U.K., China, France, Russia and the U.S., anachronistic and far from representative of the cultural and geopolitical realities of the world. The G-4 statement called for permanent seats on an extended and reformed Security Council for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan; and also expressed support for Africa's permanent representation in the body.
Since the civil war in Syria started in 2011, international and regional actors have failed to find a solution to end the crisis. The United Nations has been the addressee for finding a common ground to end the war in Syria. However, the U.N.'s efforts have failed and its envoys have been considered inefficient. Several meetings, organized by the U.N., between opposition representatives and the regime have been held but have yet to yield a result. The U.N. needs structural change, according to many experts and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since the disputes among the five permanent members – the U.K., France, the U.S., Russia and China - have deepened the conflicts and emerged as an obstacle for peace. Every attempt by the U.N. to help in Syria has been blocked by Russia and China as the two countries are considered to be in a proxy war against the Western powers in the region and see Syria's Bashar Assad as a safeguard for their interests. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Guardian on September 8 that the U.N. Security Council is failing Syria because of power divisions that have prevented action to end a conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and driven the biggest refugee exodus in a generation.